How to Establish Ground Rules with Learners

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Teaching students, coming from different backgrounds, cultures and beliefs is a challenge for the teacher. Therefore, I try to differentiate my student in regard to establish appropriate ground rules when I teach. First of all the rules needs to be adhered to the school's disciplinary procedures and then to be adapted to learners' needs and backgrounds. Different ways would apply when I establish the ground rule of the class. The main method I use is preparing a list of what I would expect from my students and what they would expect from me. I strongly believe that dictatorial attitude for setting boundaries should not be adopted by a teacher. The techniques I use to establish ground rules are based on mutual agreement, discussions, reflecting each student's opinion and negotiating.

By encouraging students to take part in making the rules, I easily achieve full acceptance of fair ground rules such as : keeping the mobiles off during the sessions; listening carefully and not interrupting the others; arriving on time; respecting the other fellow students.

I have learned from my teaching experience, that agreed ground rules are more likely to be obeyed. Having establish ground rules in the beginning of the course, enable a friendly safe environment for learners.

Also, I work towards getting the right balance of being strict and being friendly, which enables opened and trusted relationship with my students. P. Race talks about the great importance of 'foster and culture of honesty':

Successful group work relies on truthfulness suggest that it is as dishonest
for group members to 'put up with' something they don't agree about or
can't live with as it is to speak untruthfully. However, it is worth reminding
learners about the need to temper honesty with tact.

Establishing mutual agreed ground rules ensures successful and effective teaching process.

Work Cited

Race, P (2000) 500 Tips on Ground Learning, London...
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